Ride a Dancing Horse

Ride a Dancing Horse by Eileen Watkins

ISBN: 1-59279-236-7 (Electronic)
ISBN: 1-59279-844-6 (Paperback)
Cover by Trace Edward Zaber
Copyright ©2004

Background on Ride A Dancing Horse



Soon after Kelly Sheridan takes a job at Rancho Villaneuva, which breeds and trains Andalusian show horses, the ranch suffers a series of disasters. First, someone poisons the hay. Then the stallion barn catches fire. The owner, Diego, accuses Kelly of sabotage. To clear her name and save her job, Kelly must help him find the real culprit. Could it be a rival breeder? Kelly's jealous ex-boyfriend? A sexy female rancher who wants Diego? A resort owner who wants the property? A fired employee carrying a grudge?

Exploring these angles, Kelly and Diego begin to suspect the recent death of his wife may not have been accidental, either, but part of the same cruel plan.

Which means the next victim could be human...  

What Reviewers Are Saying

"Ride A Dancing Horse is like boarding a carousel…a wonderful spin through the world of Andalusian horses and their high-stepping ways. But this elegant background is deceiving, because it's rife with intrigue and very real peril. The hero, Diego, smolders through the pages, while the heroine, Kelly, tries to lead him through his sorrow and distrust. It's a ride you'll hope will never end!"
—Carolyn Banks, author of Murder Well Bred

"A story guaranteed to satisfy the mystery lover and the romantic in all of us."
—Anne K. Edwards, Murder And Mayhem Book Club

"Full of action, with a bit of romance…There are plenty of suspects, and it is difficult to determine which one is the saboteur."
—Kelly Ross, The Romance Reader's Connection

"This is mystery writing at its best, with poignant heroes and heroines, near-escapes, fiery exits and dastardly villains…A wonderful read!"
—Beverly Forehand, Round Table Reviews

Novel Excerpt

…Kelly crept as close as she dared to the barn door, the heavy smoke beginning to choke her even from there. "Diego!" she called, straining her throat. "Get out of there, before—"

More ragged hoofbeats warned her to stand clear, just before Hidalgo sprang through the opening. A fringe of flame trailed from his flowing mane, but Diego still held his lead rope.

"Alonzo, the hose—!" Diego yelled, his voice raw.

Felipe's father aimed the burst of water briefly at the stallion's neck. He doused the burning mane, but, unfortunately, startled the high-strung animal even more. Hidalgo reared sharply, flinging Diego to the ground, and bolted free.

Trying to get to Diego, Kelly found herself face-to-face with the charging stallion. Remembering how Diego had stopped Belleza, Kelly threw her arms wide. For a second, she thought Hidalgo might run right over her, anyway …


long divider

Background on... Ride a Dancing Horse

Eileen competing with Brenda at Training Level in a New Jersey dressage show.As a girl, I read every horse book in print, but I never wrote a book on this subject until RIDE A DANCING HORSE. Let me say, right out of the gate, that I do NOT ride at the same level as the main characters in RDH! I have ridden dressage for many years, though, and I was motivated by a desire to do a book involving this sport. I didn’t feel qualified to write about the politics of high-level, competitive dressage, and preferred to concentrate on the everyday breeding and training of horses. The idea of a Spanish-born trainer working with Andalusians added an exotic, glamorous note, and southern California seemed the most likely setting. These details also presented obstacles to overcome, because although Andalusians were the original dressage horses in the royal courts of Europe, and the forerunners of the famous Lipizzaners, today they have been overshadowed by the bigger “warmblood” breeds. So the hero, Diego, would face the challenge of persuading potential customers that his horses could compete successfully in the modern show ring.

Eileen with Brenda, shortly before Brenda 'retired' to Bright Futures Farm in Spartansburg, PA.Although I’ve ridden off and on (another pun!) most of my life, I only had a horse of my own for a couple of years. Brenda, a chestnut thoroughbred mare, came into my life in the spring of 1999. I knew little about her history, but she’d obviously received some dressage training and had a wonderful temperament for learning more. Unfortunately, she also came with a slight case of “heaves” or COPD — a sort of horse emphysema — which rapidly worsened in spite of my best efforts to maintain her health. After the first year or so, I realized it was cruel to keep trying to ride or show her, and I retired her to a wonderful nonprofit facility, Bright Futures Farm, in Spartansburg, PA. She received the best possible care there, but finally passed away of natural causes, at only 14, in November, 2003. On her healthier days, Brenda was a joy to ride, being intelligent and alert, but also gentle and trustworthy. When I took her into a show ring, I always felt we were a team, on the same side. Brenda also showed an amazing gift for bonding and even empathizing with her fellow horses. If there’s anything to reincarnation, she’s going to come back as one hell of a nice human being!

For more information about Bright Futures Farm, go to www.BrightFuturesFarm.org.

long divider


Halloween Moon © RealCG — Fotolia.com